Forensic psychology is a clinical psychology specialty which intertwines the law with psychological evaluation, assessment and consultation to provide useful information in criminal cases and civil proceedings.
When charged with a felony or misdemeanor, a forensic psychological evaluation can help determine a person’s mental state at the time of the offense and can address issues of competency in legal proceedings. Risk assessments can be provided to guide judicial decision-making regarding placement and sentencing with a wide variety of offenders as well.
In personal injury, worker’s compensation, workplace discrimination, and sexual harassment cases, independent psychological examinations (also referred to as Independent Medical Exams or IMEs) can help determine the severity and veracity of claims of psychological distress.
In cases regarding guardianship and diminished capacity, psychologists provide information essential for determining individuals’ ability to manage their own affairs.
In Family Court matters, psychological evaluations are invaluable in assisting judges in understanding each parent’s unique mental health needs and the ways in which any psychiatric issues might impact parenting.
A forensic psychological evaluation is also essential in certain immigration proceedings in order to support petitions for asylum and battered spouse self-petitions for green cards. The evaluations performed at Dr. Robin Lowey & Associates can help undocumented individuals seeking extreme hardship waivers remove the barriers that block them from obtaining visas and green cards as well.
At Dr. Robin Lowey & Associates we provide a variety of forensic evaluations, including, but not limited to:
- Competency to stand trial
- Competency to waive Miranda rights
- Juvenile waiver/amenability
- Pre-sentencing risk assessment
- Psychosexual evaluations
- Assessment of malingering
- Diminished capacity
- Insanity at the time of the offense
- Post-conviction review of other psychological evaluations
- Pre-employment screening
- Fitness for duty
- Independent psychological examinations/ Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs)
- Evaluations for Worker’s compensation
- Evaluations for Personal injury
- Sexual harassment
- Age, race, gender discrimination
- Emotional distress
- Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Divorce mediation
- Act 235 evaluations
- Immigration evaluations
Following the completion of a forensic psychological evaluation, expert witness testimony is provided when needed. It is important that attorneys specifically work with psychologists who specialize in forensic assessment and consultation when deposition or testimony is expected. Most clinical psychologists are primarily focused on helping the person in front of them. As a result, they typically assume that the client is there for help with a psychological problem and do not question the motives for presenting information in certain ways. This is the most helpful approach to take when conducting psychotherapy. However, if the same approach is used during an assessment where there is the potential for significant external gain, the psychologist can easily be misled. Forensic psychologists are not human lie detectors, but they are specifically trained to question clients’ motives differently than a typical psychologist because they see their role as helping to answer a psycho-legal question, as opposed to just helping the individual. Forensic psychologists are also skilled at explaining their findings in ways that are helpful for judges and juries. Most psychologists who do not have forensic training are not used to having to explain how they have come up with their clinical opinions and find the process of doing so in an adversarial setting very uncomfortable. This discomfort can often be misperceived as incompetence or dishonesty and can damage your case. Here at Dr. Robin Lowey & Associates Psychological Services, we have skilled psychologists who specialize in forensic assessment, consultation and testimony. Contact our office to find out which of our doctors can best help you with your case.
By reviewing medical records, including psychological and neuropsychological reports, forensic psychologists can provide attorneys with information that can be helpful in the early stages of formulating a legal strategy.
Consultation with a forensic psychologist can also help attorneys devise the most useful questions for a deposition or testimony of an opposing expert or a treating clinician.